The woods of northwest Canada are a funny place.
They’re spooky, too.
They’re home to people and places and beasts — maybe. Or is it definitive? Who really knows?
Those are just a few of the questions with which “Myth,” the newest show in the Aurora Fox Arts Center’s Studio Theatre, wrestles.
For those looking for an action-packed thrill ride of monster-mashin’ and ’squatchin’ (I believe that’s a term the kids are using these days), stick to that show on Animal Planet. “Myth” is much more a tale about two blokes wrestling with their own grief and their own past lives than it is sleuthing for gargantuan footprints and hairy mirages. While the show, penned by Denver resident Charles Wefso, certainly offers waves of excitement, it’s light on ape chases and heavy on the intersections of faith, memory and the sometimes begrudging bonds of loyalty. And it works.
Set in the wilderness outside Yellowknife, Canada, the plot centers on Jason (Jack Wefso), the archetype of the geeky ’squatcher, and Cass (Jack Casperson), the portrait of the haggard recluse. Sometimes strained and sometimes silly, their relationship morphs as the two men learn of one another’s motivations. In the end, the work is revealed to be a study in the mental price of solitude, while simultaneously positing the question of whether to become the guardian of a legend or a conquistador of modern mythology.
The action moves well, but there are some prolonged instances of B-roll that would be fine on-film, yet lag just a tad onstage — especially when there’s only one guy absorbing all of the eyeballs in attendance. A few jumpy passages of time in the second act also come across as slightly jarring.
Despite some of those expected wrinkles in what is still an impressive world premier, everyone at the Fox helps levitate a burly artistic load.
Technical Director Brandon Case manages to absolutley explode and expand the bijou space on East Colfax into a veritable expanse of brush that teems with mystery. The area is at the same time intimate and completely expansive.
Sound Designer El Armstrong’s eery sonic atmosphere is subtle enough to go unnoticed at times, but plenty present when it needs to be. That crack of the branch moments before Cass first emerges turned the majority of heads in Friday night’s audience.
And how can you not love Jack Casperson as the croaky and crusty Cass? Anyone who is able to perform at his level for as long as he has — the Aurora resident is pushing 78 years old — is truly something to behold.
At the end of two hours, the show, directed by Fox captain and bona fide Big Foot lover Charlie Packard, stands up to become a delightful morsel of local theater. With enough tips of the cap to true Patterson-Gimlin obsessives, but not enough Comic Con-style geek-dom to be out of the wheelhouse of your average Colfax Jack, it makes for an enjoyable night out. Just don’t expect to go home with any newfound revelations about North America’s most elusive creature — the mystery very much remains. And that’s a good thing.
Doors open at 7:30p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2.pm. Sundays through Feb. 19
Adult tickets start at $33
Aurora Fox Studio Theatre, 9900 E. Colfax Ave.
The show runs for bout 2 hours with intermission; not suitable for children due to profane language.